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Locals React to Brutal Beating Attack on Elderly Santa Clara Man in Cemetery

SANTA CLARA (KPIX) -- Santa Clara police said Thursday they're looking for the suspect who violently attacked and robbed an elderly man who was sitting next to his wife's grave.

"He's a lovely gentleman who stays here for an hour or two visiting her," said Denise Martin who bicycles through Santa Clara's Mission City Memorial Park almost every day.

Police said the victim, 91, was sitting in a chair next to his wife's grave on Saturday, Sept. 14th at 10:42 a.m. when he was struck on the head with a large rock and then robbed.

Santa Clara Cemetery Beating Suspect Sketch
(Santa Clara Police Dept. Sketch)

The suspect, who was described as being 35 to 50 years old and about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet, left on a gray and black mountain bike.

Witnesses helped the victim who was then taken to a nearby hospital.

The property may be a cemetery but it's a busy one that's used by dog walkers, bicyclists and people exercising day and night, like Steve Richardson, who walks the cemetery's paths almost every day of the week around dusk.

"It's close by and it's so pretty if I can get here before the sun goes down," Richardson said.

He said he's never seen anything unusual or suspicious at the cemetery that he's lived next to for the past 30 years.

"Turn yourself in, you can't carry that stuff with you," Richardson said of the suspect.

He said it won't stop him from enjoying the cemetery.

It also hasn't kept away the victim.

Martin said she saw him there this morning, right next to his wife's grave.

"How anyone could even think of hurting him is just beyond me," she said. "It's sickening, it's just sickening."

The city of Santa Clara owns the cemetery. A city spokesperson declined an interview request with cemetery staff because police have not identified the victim.

Police said the robbery was extremely unusual and that it appeared to be an isolated incident.

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